2008 World Series: FPP qualifier alive in Day 4

It's fascinating how fortunes can diverge from a single point of origin.

Take yourself back to the day in 2004 when an impetuous (some might say imbalanced) Britney Spears went to a little chapel in Las Vegas and married a childhood friend. Since then, Spears has gone off the reservation, come back, gone off again, and now spends a lot of time, inexplicably, with Mel Gibson.

Six hours before that Vegas hitchin' that sent Spears down a road to near-ruin, a man named Mike Ortlieb married his sweetheart in the very same Vegas chapel. Four years later, the now-32 year-old materials handler from the Kohler Company is still married, still employed, not going crazy, and has just recently welcomed a beautiful daughter into the world. In short, he's doing a lot better than the head-shaving pop diva in just about every way.

One other major difference is that Ortlieb managed to qualify for the World Series of Poker using only his PokerStars Frequent Player Points. Not only that, he's still alive on Day 4 and stands to make near $30,000.

Michael Ortlieb.jpg

Twenty years ago, Ortlieb spent more on his summer poker games than he spent on his World Series seat.

"A friend would come over during summer break and we would play poker for pennies about four or five hours a day," he said.

Now, he's already doubled up once in Day 4. He's been on a televised table. He stands a decent chance of going even deeper.

We reminded him of 2005, the year Bernard Lee took his PokerStars FPP seat and ran it up to a 13th place finish and $400,000.

Ortlieb shrugged, as if he had barely considered the idea.

"This is a dream come true for me," he said. "I'm gonna go out there and give it everything I've got. Even though I'm an amateur, I've got a lot of confidence in myself."

Between that and his not being a crazy L.A. singer, Ortlieb is having a pretty good day.


Having a much worse day is Team PokerStars Pro ElkY who just exited the room after taking a tough beat in the first level and spiralling down from there. Better off is Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin who just benefitted from a raise and all-in before it got to him in the small blind where he sat with two black kings. The all-in player was making a move with Js7s and was drawing dead by the turn.

PokerStars-sponsored player Kara Scott is recovering from her rough night's end last night. Just before the break, she doubled up with KK vs JJ.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker